Friday, April 6, 2012

The Occupy Movement Turns on its Religious Supporters

Having been anointed collectively as “Person of the Year” in 2011 by the desperate and irrelevant Time magazine, the unwashed masses of the Occupy movement seem to have let the dubious honor go to their collective head. Never known for their restrained, orderly behavior, the Occupiers have even begun turning against and repulsing their supporters among the religious left.

Initially, the Los Angeles Times pronounced the Occupy movement as “a predominantly secular undertaking,” although it did note that “some left-leaning religious groups see a golden opportunity in the Occupy movement, whose central message of greater economic equality resonates deeply among faith-based progressives.”
Sure enough, religious progressives did rush to anoint the movement as it began to swell. FrontPage contributor Mark Tooley noted that such religious left icons as Jim Wallis and Shane Claiborne rhapsodized about the Occupiers standing with Jesus in their defense of the poor, even resembling St. Francis of Assisi. “Whether or not the Wall Street Occupiers are ‘ordinary people,’” Tooley wrote, “much less resemble St. Francis, the Religious Left is bursting with pride over their naughty demands.” Wallis urged his followers to embrace the movement, literally:
Our faith communities and organizations should swing their doors wide and greet the Occupiers with open arms, offering them a feast to say “thank you” for having the courage to raise the very religious and biblical issue of growing inequality in our society.
By the beginning of December The Huffington Post asserted that “more than 1,400 faith leaders from around the country [had] signed a pledge of solidarity with Occupy protesters.” They conducted services and provided counseling, and their churches hosted Occupy meetings. Religious communities of all stripes rushed to offer the Occupiers shelter and solidarity:
In addition to spiritual ministry and space to assemble and sleep, religious communities have provided the Occupy movement with material support such as food, clothing, tents, blankets and heaters.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams wrote that Jesus would be among the Occupiers of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and that the movement had prompting people to examine themselves and ask, “What would Jesus do?”
But the behavior of the Occupiers themselves belied all this spiritual praise. If the Occupiers did ask themselves “What would Jesus do?,” then they apparently came to the conclusion that Jesus would expose himself, rape, urinate and defecate in public, endanger children, steal, trespass, trash public and private property, harass and denounce Jews, assault non-protesters and police, block traffic, take drugs, hurl Molotov cocktails and blood and vinegar, and more. Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website has posted a jaw-dropping, ongoing “rap sheet” of the Occupy movement’s reprehensible if not actually criminal behavior that numbers well over 400 incidents. But that list hasn’t been updated for a month. To date, arrests at Occupy events number over 6,000, including over 400 in Oakland alone last weekend. By contrast, the Tea Party movement doesn’t even litter.
So it was only a matter of time before the Occupiers began misbehaving in the very churches that had given them sanctuary and assistance, and exposing their contempt for religious spaces and values. Members of the movement urinated on a cross inside a Brooklyn church recently and have been accused of desecrating New York’s West Park Presbyterian Church. The pastor ordered sixty protesters to leave the sanctuary after one of them stole a bronze lid from the $12,500 baptismal font. Initially a supporter of the Occupy movement, the pastor now is outraged by their behavior:
Even in the 1980s when we had a lot of crack addicts, et cetera, in the neighborhood, and even robbing people in the church, that particular religious symbol had never really been disturbed before.
Occupiers also began wreaking havoc in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, the very one where Archbishop Williams claimed Jesus would be showing His solidarity. The registrar of St Paul’s, Nicholas Cottam, described the disruptions:
Desecration: graffiti have been scratched and painted on to the great west doors of the cathedral, the chapter house door and most notably a sacrilegious message painted on the restored pillars of the west portico.
Human defecation has occurred in the west portico entrance and inside the cathedral on several occasions.
He also noted noisy interruptions during services, foul language directed at staff, and the use of alcohol and other stimulants that appeared to “fuel the noise levels day and night.” Litter has piled up and dogs roam freely on the site. This led to more than half of the schools scheduled to visit the cathedral cancelling since the occupation began there in October. Visitor numbers were also down by half, leaving the cathedral’s cafe, shop and restaurant “faltering.”

The cathedral’s director of community and children’s services expressed concern about

people who were exhibiting behaviour that was indicative of poor mental health, people who were exhibiting signs of drug use including stumbling and compulsive behaviour, people who had body odor arising from significant periods without washing or change of clothing and a number of people who were clearly under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
In actions that are symbolic of further rejection of the religious values the left tried to ascribe to them, Occupiers recently threw Bibles at police officers from an abandoned San Francisco hotel and disrupted a Right to Life rally inside the Rhode Island state capitol, shouting down a priest’s prayer and tossing condoms on Catholic school girls.

Despite the religious left’s attempts to ordain these barbarians, the Occupiers are no more religious or spiritual than their Marxist and Communist forbearers. And now they’re finding that out the hard way.

[Check out David Horowitz and John Perazzo’s new broadside, Occupy Wall Street: The Communist Movement Reborn, about the movement and its radical roots, leaders, rhetoric, activities, and hidden agendas]

(This article first appeared here on FrontPage Mag, 2/3/12)